A health and safety warning that included advice on how to avoid giant lizards? It can only have been the 28th Arthur C Clarke Award ceremony, held once again at the Royal Academy in Piccadilly.  The great and the good of the Science Fiction community braved the torrential rain and threat of giant lizards to find out which of the six shortlisted authors would take home the most prestigious award for Science Fiction in Britain. 

The evening kicked off with a celebratory introduction from Award Director and Genre Champion Tom Hunter (@ClarkeAward) who thanked a list of sponsors including SFX Magazine, The Science Fiction Book Club and Sci-Fi London.  Robert Grant from Sci-Fi London joined Tom on stage to exclusively preview a film on this year’s 48 Hour Film Project shortlist, an annual challenge in which amateur film-makers have to make a film in… 48 hours! Previous winners have included Gareth Edwards who has gone on to make a big-screen remake of Godzilla and even has a page on IMDB.

It was then the turn of “Judge Wrangler” Andrew M. Butler to introduce the shortlist, a rich and varied mix of debut novelists and big hitters spanning genres such as “post post post cyberpunk,” planetary romance and space opera. 

The team at Audible provided a professional actor to read short excerpts from each of the shortlist, a move that will surely be repeated at next year’s award.  I immediately ordered a copy of James Smythe’s THE MACHINE as I enjoyed the reading so much! It was up to last year’s winner Chris Beckett to open the envelope and announce the winner after the obligatory 3-second suspenseful pause.  Congratulations to Ann Leckie, recipient of the 28th Arthur C Clarke Award for her debut novel ANCILLARY JUSTICE.  Her delighted editor Jenni Hill took to the stage to collect the award on her behalf and you can read more about ANCILLARY JUSTICE here.

Jenni Hill (Commissioning Editor for the Orbit team in London) and Tom Hunter (Director of the Arthur C Clarke Award)

The shortlist in full:
GOD'S WAR by Kameron Hurley (Del Rey)
ANCILLARY JUSTICE by Ann Leckie (Orbit)
NEXUS by Ramez Naam (Angry Robot)
THE ADJACENT by Christopher Priest (Gollancz)
THE MACHINE by James Smythe (Blue Door)